Newly Diagnosed

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RE: Newly Diagnosed

by Sdurnell on Thu Aug 13, 2015 07:08 PM

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Cortni,

I'm here to second most of what everyone else has already told you.  It sounds like you are already pretty well informed, but I want to emphasize that you will probably not be yourself during your treatment.  That's OK, as for many of us, lots of what we thought before we got cancer was turned on its head by this diagnosis and its brutal treatment.  

If you generally try not to depend on prescription medications, forget that for the near term.  If you have trouble asking people for help and favors, change that mindset.  Since you have young kids, life is no doubt usually all about them, but now it's about you.  You will be no good to them if you aren't good to yourself.  

You will need in many cases to put your own needs first.  Let others help you.  Right now, while you are still feeling well, think about assembling a support team of those you can trust among your family, friends, and other contacts.  If someone offers help, take that person at his/her word.  Many people would like to be of help but don't know what you need.  Babysitting, housekeeping, laundry, meals for your family, transportation when you are too sick to drive yourself, someone to come over and share a cup of tea.  Anything you need.  Not everyone will come through for you, but you need to ask.  Just think about what you would be willing to do for others.  This is time to call in the "village" and not be a supermom!

I don't know how old your kids are, but take their age into consideration when you talk to them about your illness.  Give them basic information, but leave it there unless they ask questions.  You don't necessarily need to say the word "cancer."  Just tell them you are sick, that your doctors know how to make you better, but that it might take quite a while.  Try to keep up as many routines for them as you can, but let others plan "fun" alternatives too.  If they are in school, it might be best to confide in the teachers that you are experiencing health problems--go into as much or as little as far as details as you feel comfortable.  But it's good for teachers to know that something is going on at home so they can understand and contact you if it affects school behavior.

Best of luck with this.  I also recommend the feeding tube, but not everyone needs one, or uses it if they get one.  And remember that if you start out without one, you can change your mind.  I made it about halfway through radiation, but was losing weight (I'm 5'3" and went from 140 to 104) and then got pneumonia and couldn't eat anymore.  It literally saved my scrawny life, as eventually my throat closed completely, an unusual side effect.

All the best,

Susan

RE: Newly Diagnosed

by Cortni on Fri Aug 14, 2015 09:45 PM

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Thank you all so much. Although I hate that we are all on here for one common unfortunate bond, I'm grateful that you are all here with me through this. I appreciate all the responses. I go to my first appt at MD Anderson Monday with head and neck surgeon. I have rad/onc Thursday, dental Friday, and med/onc the following Tuesday. Can I ask how many lymph nodes you all had swollen? I have one on each side of my neck, makes me so nervous to now have 2 and not just one.
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